The industry believes that the toxicity of paint is small when compared with other types of special waste. The increased uptake of water-borne paint and decline in solvent-borne is reducing this toxicity further all the time.
Local authorities in some areas are running paint take-back programmes through existing infrastructure such as transfer stations and hazardous waste collection initiatives (such as Hazmobile).
Some local authority collections utilise the services of a paint remanufacturer (Enviropaints). These local authorities pay to have the paint transported to a facility in the Wellington region. This remanufactured paint is then sold to the public, or back to the councils. There can be a significant transport burden arising from this activity.
Producers have been encouraged by the Government to set up their own schemes for the take-back and recycling of paint. Only one paint manufacturer, representing approximately 36% of the paint market, has set up a scheme to date. The Resene Paintwise programme is aimed at the stewardship of all paint, funded by a levy paid by every Resene retail customer when they buy new paint. Paintwise also allows for other brands to be disposed of through the programme for a fee.
The ownership of retail stores is an important advantage when trying to put in place a product stewardship scheme. Resene has been able to implement Paintwise relatively simply because they own and control their retail outlets. Other brand owners report they have encountered resistance from retailers when trying to develop product stewardship initiatives. This is particularly the case when considering brand owners that sell product through large, multi-product retailers.
Service providers exist for the recovery of solvent from waste paint. There are no industry standards for the treatment of paint and this is raised as an issue of concern for the recovery sector, parts of which would like to see regulation in order to level the playing field for all participants.